Facility Feature
Five Star Cooperative Completes a Place to Expand in Iowa

Newly expanded Five Star Cooperative country elevator at the edge of Lawler, IA now has more than 730,000 bushels of storage capacity and a new dryer. Aerial photo by

Country elevator at Lawler, IA has added storage and more efficient receiving, loadout

Lawler, IA — Back in 2016, Five Star Cooperative built a single 308,000-bushel Sukup corrugated steel tank and receiving leg just beyond the northeast city limits of Lawler, IA (563-238-2814).

It was the first step in moving the Lawler elevator out of its in-town location in a residential neighborhood to something more beneficial to both farmers and town residents, says Tony Myers, operations manager and safety director at Five Star. (Myers has been with the cooperative for six years.)

“The in-town facility is nearly 50 years old,” he comments.

In 2020, Phase 2 of construction completed the new elevator with the addition of another 420,000 bushels of upright storage; a new dump-through truck scale with pit and receiving leg; tower dryer; and office building. An older scale on the site is no longer in use, and an adjacent truck probe has been moved in front of the new scale.

Five Star serves as own in-house contractor

Construction broke ground in March 2020 on the roughly $3 million project, and the expanded facility was ready to receive grain just as harvest was starting up in northeast Iowa in mid to late September.

Myers notes that the hillside location along a smooth paved road northeast of Lawler had a very high water table, and a lot of excavation and storm drainage tiling was required. Blazek Construction, Lawler (563-238-7150), performed the excavation and installed drainage.

Otherwise, Five Star Cooperative served as its own in-house contractor in procuring construction services on the project. The cooperative worked closely with Holschlag Bin Sales, Inc., New Hampton, IA (641-394-3057), a local dealer for Sukup Mfg. Co., Sheffield, IA (641-892-4222). Sukup provided the majority of equipment for the project.

“We have a lot of experience with Sukup products,” says Myers. “It’s high-quality, the price is reasonable, and they’re also a local company for us.”

Among the other participants in the Phase 2 expansion:

  • Countryside Construction II, Inc., Orchard, IA (641-982-4278), erected the two new Sukup tanks.
  • Hawkeye Grain Systems, Inc., Hawkeye, IA (563-380-7399), served as millwright.
  • Several engineering firms took on various portions of the project: Raker Rhodes Industrial, Des Moines, IA (515-277-0275); Lahey Architects Inc., Mt. Horeb, WI (608-832-1547); and Fehr-Graham Engineering & Environmental, West Union, IA (563-422-5131).
  • Stanton Electric, New Hampton (641-592), was the electrical contractor.
  • Larson Construction, LLC, New Hampton, IA (641-592-5800), did concrete work.
  • Yoder Custom Builders LLC, Cresco, IA (269-663-8856), built the steel structure housing the dump-through receiving pit and the offices.

Storage includes Sukup steel dry, wet tanks

Storage added during Phase 2 included two Sukup steel tanks – a 308,000-bushel tank for dry corn and a 112,000-bushel wet tank. Both tanks have custom roofs with up to 100,000-pound load-bearing capacity.

The dry tank is identical to the 2016 tank standing 78 feet in diameter, 70 feet tall at the eave, and 89 feet 10 inches at the peak. It has a flat floor, outside stiffeners, sidedraw spout, a 5,000-bph Sukup zero-entry paddle sweep, and 14-cable TSGC grain temperature monitoring system. The paddle sweep has conveniently placed controls on the outside of the stem wall.

A pair of Sukup 40-hp centrifugal fans provide 1/7 cfm per bushel of aeration through a flush-floor system.

The wet tank stands 48 feet in diameter, 69 feet 9 inches tall at the eave, and 82 feet tall at the peak. Like its larger dry tank, this tank is equipped with flat floor, outside stiffeners, sidedraw spout, Sukup 5,000-bph zero-entry paddle sweep, and six-cable TSGC grain temperature monitoring system.

The wet tank has two Sukup 15-hp centrifugal fans also supplying 1/7 cfm per bushel of aeration.

The old truck scale that was installed in 2016 has been replaced by a Cardinal Mfg. enclosed 87-foot-long dump through truck scale housed in a steel building that also contains the facility office. Truckers must climb about three feet to get onto the scale.

This was necessary to site the dump-through directly over an existing 800-bushel mechanical receiving pit, says Location Manager Dennis Lau, a 12-year veteran at Five Star. An existing Probe-A-Load truck probe was moved from the old scale to the new scale.

Grain moves via Sukup leg, conveyors, dryer

The pit feeds a Sukup 15,000-bph receiving leg equipped with a single row of Maxi-Lift 18x8 TigerTuff buckets mounted on a 20-inch belt on 9-inch centers supplied by Maxi-Lift.

The leg deposits grain into a Schlagel swing-set, dual-inlet, four-duct distributor. From there, grain is sent to storage via Sukup overhead 20,000-bph drag conveyors or via gravity spout to the dryer. Lau notes that the fill conveyors have a higher capacity than the receiving leg so they can accommodate grain from both the receiving leg and a dry leg from the dryer.

The Sukup tower dryer is fueled from a pair of 6,000-gallon liquid propane tanks and has a capacity of 2,700 bph at five points of moisture removal. It empties into a Sukup 5,000-bph wet leg equipped with Maxi-Lift 13x7 TigerTuff buckets on 9-inch centers on a 15-inch belt.

The storage tanks empty onto 7,500-bph Sukup drag conveyors running to a 5,000-bushel loadout tank. The above-ground drags run through 6-foot-wide-x-7-foot-tall tunnels for easy access.

Five Star Cooperative

  • New Hampton IA • 641-394-3052
  • Founded: 1919
  • Storage capacity: 28 million bushels
  • Annual volume: 100 million bushels
  • Annual revenues: $315 million
  • Number of members: 1,800
  • Number of employees: 200
  • Crops handled: Corn, soybeans
  • Services: Grain handling and merchandising, agronomy, energy, hardware store

Key personnel at Lawler

  • Tony Myers, operations/safety manager
  • Dennis Lau, location manager
  • Mike Gebel, superintendent/custom application
  • Donna Burgart, office manager
  • Dale King, agronomy/grain

Project Suppliers

  • Aeration fans • Sukup Mfg. Co.
  • Bearing sensors • 4B Components Ltd.
  • Bin sweeps • Sukup Mfg. Co.
  • Bucket elevators • Sukup Mfg. Co.
  • Catwalks • Sukup Mfg. Co.
  • Concrete • Larson Contracting
  • Control system • Stanton Electric
  • Conveyors • Sukup Mfg. Inc.
  • Contractor • in-house, Holschlag Bin Sales, Inc.
  • Distributor • Schlagel Inc.
  • Dust collection system • AGI Airlanco
  • Electrical contractor • Stanton Electric
  • Elevator buckets • Maxi-Lift Inc.
  • Engineering • Raker Rhodes Industrial, Lahey Architects, Inc., Fehr-Graham Engineering & Environmental
  • Excavation/storm drainage • Blazek Construction
  • Grain handling accessories • Northland Mfg. Inc.
  • Grain dryer • Sukup Mfg. Co.
  • Grain temperature system • Tri-States Grain Conditioning Inc.
  • Leg belting • Maxi-Lift, Inc.
  • Millwright • Hawkeye Grain Systems, Inc.
  • Motion sensors • 4B Components Ltd.
  • Speed reducers • Dodge
  • Steel building construction • Yoder Custom Builders, Dewey Construction (office buildout)
  • Steel storage and buildings • Sukup Mfg. Co.
  • Steel tank erection • Countryside Construction
  • Tower support system • Sukup Mfg. Co.
  • Truck probe • Probe-A-Load Inc.
  • Truck scale • Cardinal Scale Mfg. Co.
  • Truck scale installation • Hawkeye State Scale Inc.
  • Walkways/platforms • Northland Mfg. Inc.

Ed Zdrojewski, editor

Reprinted in September/October 2020 GRAIN JOURNAL

Five Star Coop Gallery

  • Five Star Coop Lawler Storage Dryer aerial
  • Five Star Cooperative Lawler Sukup tower dryer
  • Five Star Cooperative Lawler Tunnels Sukup Drag Conveyors
  • Five Star Cooperative Lawler Sukup Corrugated Steel Tank

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